Monday, December 21, 2015

Looking Back.......

Christmas is in a few day, and the new year is upon us.  And I am looking back over my year, my life. 

I can honestly say I think this is the best year I have had in ... 15, 20, ? years.  I really don't know how long it's been.  But I feel very safe in saying it's been decades.  That's not to say I haven't had good years, or bad years.  I have my fair share of both.  We all have.  But I can't remember having one this good in that long.  That's saying something.

One of my girls had it rough the past few years.  And she is finally coming into her own.  She knows who she is (more than most girls her age do), knows where she has made mistakes and has learned from them.  She has turned a corner.  She smiles, she laughs.  She is the happiest I have seen her in 2 or so years.  And when your kids are happy, you are happy.  She lights up life.  All my girls do.  I am one proud momma.

And then there is my marriage.  I have made it no secret in the past that we had our issues.  I am convinced several years ago I was going through some kind of mid-life crisis.  We lost our home, we rented a place and met some great people, and some crazy people.  I had just had my third child.  I felt lost.  My marriage was struggling.  And all I knew was I was mom.  I struggled with who was outside that title of "mom".  It's not that I wasn't happy being a mom.  I was.  But I felt a sort of loss too at the same time.  As if somewhere along the road of marriage and kids, I lost who I was.  And I didn't know who that was anymore. 

My husband understood to a point.  He allowed me to go out with some single friends of mine once every few weeks.  And I also went out with a group of moms a time or two.  It was nice to go out, and pretend to be young again. To know my kids were safe with my husband, and just .... live.  I know that sounds lame.  But that's how it felt at the time.  Like in getting married and starting our family early, I some how missed out on experiences in my younger years.  Looking back, I think I tried to make up for "lost time". 

Looking back on it, I see what a waste of time it was.  Because the truth of the matter was, all I was looking for and needed was at home.  We had our issues, but it was there if I could just look past my hurt long enough to see it.

I made some choices during that time I deeply regret.  However, I also learned a lot during that time.  My husband fought for us, during that time.  We weren't a good place, and he was giving me space.  But he also fought like hell for me.  He told me he wasn't letting me go.  He made a vow and he was going to keep it.  And that we could work through anything.  And he started trying, even though I know put off mixed signals.  One minute I loved him for loving me and fighting for us.  The next all I could focus on was our issues and my hurt.  It was a rocky time for several years for us.

But you know what?  We did it.  First he fought us.  And about the time he got fed up, I started fighting for us.  We never both fought for us at the same time.  How sad is that?  I mean we had talks through the years, tried to work things out, and always ended up back on the same merry-go-round.  It was exhausting. 

So what changed?  Why was this year so different?  Where did the merry-go-round go?  The truth is, I don't know.  I can tell you this, I was done.  I was finally done trying to fix it.  I was done with all the talks.  I was done praying for him to come around, change, see things a certain way... or however you choose to fill in that rather long blank space. I had fought for us for years.  I had prayed for years.  And I was just done.  I truly wanted change no matter what.  I wanted us to be happy again.

So I changed my prayers one night.  I started praying for God to forgive me all the hurt I caused, and for Him for me forgive myself.  I prayed that he would help my husband forgive me.  And most of all, the prayer I still say to this very day....  I prayed that He would help me be the spouse he created me to be for my husband.  There were no more prayers about changing him.  This was about me.  No matter if I thought he was to blame or not (needless to say, he most likely thought I was to blame as well.  In truth, we were both responsible for the break down in our marriage to some degree).  But it wasn't about who was to blame or who needed to change the most.  It was about our marriage and the future of our marriage.  All that mattered to me in the moment of that prayer, was that we make it.  And I would be willing to do whatever to make it happen.

I still pray that prayer.  I never told him I prayed it.  Not for months.  It wasn't until one day he told me he noticed a change in me and thanked me for all my support and understanding over the last few months I told him.  It wasn't me, it was God.  I just simply prayed that God help me be the spouse my husband needed to be and that I was created to be for him.  He was very surprised by that I admitted that.

I do believe that is what changed my marriage around and gave us such a good year.  I started listening to that still small voice when it told me to let something go, or to forgive, or to give it to Him.  I listened when it said send a encouraging email or text.  And slowly as my wonderful, patient, loving husband saw the changes in me (before I confessed my secret), he started to respond with his own changes.  Things just started clicking.

We have both grown over this last year.  We have many blessings, and we have faced quite a few obstacles.  But we did it smoother than ever.  We still have our issues from time to time.  Who doesn't?  But we work through them better.  We communicate better.

So tonight, as I look back over the years, I hate to see the pain we both felt and caused.  I hate to remember some of the choices we made.  But I am so very thankful for where we are now.  It made it all worth it.

For anyone out there going through a rough a time, don't give up.   If you are a person of faith, pray for guidance.  Believe me when I say we (hubby and I) have been through hell and back.  It is possible to come out on the other side all the better.  And believe me when I say if you feel lost in life, you aren't gonna find yourself out drinking and partying.  That is not you.  You aren't missing a thing!!  That is NOT what life is about.  When you are on your deathbed, you aren't gonna give two shits about how much you went you out, how much you partied, how much "fun" you had.  What is going to matter is the love you had and shared.  Your family.  And the memories with those who truly know you and care about you.  You will regret the hurt you caused those you love.  You will regret not forgiving more.  At least, that is the conclusion I came too.  Life is about love.  About sharing it with others, and learning to receive it.  It is in that love that you make your memories.

I thank God for my really good year.  And I pray for more ahead.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Kids Table

Growing up, whenever there was huge family gathering, there was the "kids" table.  I'm sure many out there know what I'm talking about.  All the adults got to sit together at the fancy table.  Us kids, we got put in the kitchen, or the basement, or even a hall with extra table.   And no, it was the furthest thing from fancy.  Especially to us kids.

Growing up we all couldn't wait to be invited to the "adult" table.  Then we would be taken seriously.  Then we'd be important.  We never really stopped realize what having a seat at the adult table would mean.  It wasn't just a matter of adding a chair.  That table was packed full!  It was a matter of a spot vacating. 

Our "kids" table fed many of us at one point.  There was me and my two sisters and 6 other cousins.  So 9 isn't too bad. 

Sadly, as the years progressed, it wasn't just the adult table that lost people,  our table lost people at it as well.  I lost two cousins way too soon.  Both in separate car accidents, years apart.  Their loss is still felt to this day.  The adult table lost my dad, and two uncles to divorce.  We also gained an uncle.  And we recently lost both my grandparents.

As this Thanksgiving approaches, I am again thinking of the "kids" table.  I am still at it.  And so is my husband, my two brother-in-laws, a cousin-in-law (when in town) and one soon to be cousin-in-law, who is already considered family.   We have gained numbers.  lol  Which really means we have gained love.  We're a big group now, us at the "kids" table.

There is still the "grown up" table.  And yet we still remember them, and smile when we think of them.  And their spirit is still with us, even if their chair is empty.

And now we have a new "kids" table. a "grandkids".  My 3 girls sit at it, my 2 nieces, and when my cousin is in town... her son as well (and one day her new baby girl will as well). 

Yes, we have 3 separate tables to fit us all.  And yes, we all fit. That's a lot of people.  That's a lot of love. 

As we sit at our table (my sisters, and me and my hubby, and my cousins and their loved ones),  we joke about the different tables now.  We smile, we laugh, we swap stories.  We enjoy each other and the food.  But we also glance at the "adult/grown up" table.  We notice the missing the spots.  We realize that there will be more missing spots in the future.  Eventually we all finally be at that table.  And you know what, I don't think we look forward to it anymore.  We look at that table now and smile at our loved ones, happy they are still here.  Silently being thankful that we are not yet at that table.

The kids table.  It once seemed like a curse or somehow demeaning (because as kids that you saw things).  And now, I don't think any of us want to leave it.  And as those of us with kids look down upon the "grandkids" table at our kids, we know what they are thinking.  We know how they feel.  And we know that one day, they too will be all to glad to be at that table. 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

What Does It Mean To Be A Mom?

The question in the title has perplexed me for years.  What does it mean to be a mom?

When I was little, all I wanted to do was grow up, get married, and be a mom.  Back then my mom was the most perfect, loving person in the whole world.  And I wanted to be just like that.

As I got older, it took on different meanings.  At one point "mom" was the person I could I count on to help me with homework, make my favorite meal, change Dad's mind, or fix my boo boo's and illnesses.  But then "mom" changed.

In my world, my mom suddenly, and unexpectedly, also became sole bread winner and provider.  She became wounded, strong, and brave; all at once.

I learned a lot from my mother without her even knowing or trying.  She taught me love by loving me even at my worst.  She taught me compassion by taking in the family that suddenly found themselves without a home.  She taught me sacrifice and hard work.  She taught me responsibility.  She taught me that there are times in life when you pick your battles.  Not every fight you are invited too is worth it.

Then something amazing happened.  I fell in love, got married, and became a mother.  And everything I thought I knew about being a mom changed again.

I would love to say I that I loved my husband unconditionally from the start.  But that just simply wasn't true.  Life had damaged me.  It wasn't until I became a mother I truly learned the meaning of unconditional love.  And it actually taught me to love my husband better.  Being a mom taught me that you can be upset with someone, and still love them more than anything.  And you know what comes with unconditional love?

Sacrifice.  Being mom taught more about sacrifice then I thought I learned from my suddenly widowed mom.  And believe me when I say she sacrificed A LOT.

I learned that being a mom is more just than the big sacrifices... not getting that new car so you can help your kid go to college.  Or working extra to help pay for the their hobbies.  Or staying up late to type up the research paper they worked on (with your help) after getting home late from work so they can get some rest.

Being a mom means sacrificing sleep.  And not just when they are babies.  It means when they are sick at age 5 you stay awake praying for them.  It means "sleeping" on the floor next to their bed, 6 months pregnant because they keep having nightmares you being there fixes it.  It means waking up numerous times to check on sick kids, or administer medicines throughout childhood.  It means staying up stressing over things they worry about, or putting the finishing touch on their project, or like previously mentioned... praying for them.

Being a mom means putting yourself last.  Not just after birth either.  But until the day you die.  They want your sweet snack, you share it.  They want to watch their favorite show with you (even though you have watched it 25 times at least with them, and your show is coming on), you do it.  They want to sleep with you because of..... fill in the blank  (bad dream, sick, can't sleep, afraid of the dark, or so on).... you do it.  Even though it means they will be all over you, kicking you, hitting you, all night long.  You still let them do it.

You will read that book you know by heart (and secretly have a love/hate relationship with) to them AGAIN.  And so much more.

Being a mom means putting yourself last.  Oh wait, you're sick and with a fever?  Too bad.  Your kids need you.  You still have to feed them, dress them, help them with homework, and so on.  Not to mention throwing that last load of laundry in because that one shirt is really needed for picture day tomorrow.  Oh snap!  Picture day!  You know your sick as anything, and won't sleep well, but you will still have to get up in the morning and help them get ready for this all to important day. 

Being a mom means making meals you hate because it's one of the few things your picky eater will eat.  And... you eat it.  Because you want them to eat.  Because it's important to have family meals.  It's important to teach them (when they are a bit older) that life sometimes means doing things you don't like or want to do.

Being mom means being a maid.  You clean up the same mess more times than you have hairs on your entire head.  You will do their laundry, their dishes.  You will organize their clothes and switch them out with seasons, and they will never notice. They will never thank you.

Being a mom means being a personal shopper.  You must know your children's wants and likes, and sizes.  And you must not screw this up or get them confused with their spouses.  Trust me.

Being a mom means being a great organizer.  You must know who has what field trip, what teacher, what project do when, what hobbies or clubs on what days.  And you must schedule it all out so nothing messes up your family harmony.

Being a mom also means things that you never thought of.  Like having your heart ripped from your body when you can't "fix it".   When my daughter was 2 months old, with a fever of 105, in the hospital and it was all up to her.... I couldn't fix it.  I worried.  I prayed.  I couldn't fix it.

When my other daughters went through the heartbreaks of moving and leaving friends, it hurt me too.  And when they went through the terrible hurt of losing what you thought was your best friend... a bitter betrayal... I hurt with them.  And I felt guilty.  Because moms are suppose to make things better, and I couldn't.  I couldn't fix it.  And the pain of seeing your children in pain (physically, emotionally, mentally, it doesn't matter) feels like someone is ripping your heart from your chest.  It is a pain special unto itself and unlike anything else.  I promise.  And it will come upon you several times a year with each child.  When they hurt, you hurt.

Being a mom means teaching your children morals, life lessons, responsibility, how to take care of themselves, and how to care about others.  You have to teach strength and compassion.  You have teach self reliance and that it's okay to ask for help when they need it.  You have teach them obedience while encouraging them to be true to themselves.  Being a mom is full of conundrums like these.  Let alone teaching kids to control their temper, be polite, to help others, etc. 

And yes, being a mom means never showering or using the toilet alone again.  (and yes, my 13 yr old will still find me in the shower and come talk to me from time to time).  They will find you.  They will want to talk to you.  And forget having a phone conversation!!!  You pick up that phone and all of sudden they need you for everything!  Or little Suzy fell down or little Johnny flushed his favorite toy car down the toilet.  I think mom's love texting more than teens do.  It's the only way we can converse sometimes.  And every mom knows that it's okay if you don't answer back right away.  Because let's face it, kids happen.

Being a mom means skipping showers from time to time.  Mostly when they are little.  But still, you have to do it.

Sometimes it is hard to draw the line between mom and woman; or mom and wife.  That is something all new moms must learn.  And it's not easy trying to figure out how to be a mom for the first the time, and still figure out how to still be you and a good spouse.  Finding time for yourself is crazy hard.   

Being a mom is not easy.  It's down right hard work.  And it's so sad that society beats us moms up.  We even do it to each other.

"Oh, you stay at home?  What do you do all day?  What I wouldn't give to be able to do that!  Life of leisure!"  (HARDLY!!!  Stay at homes often make financial and personal sacrifices that the working moms just don't understand..... or society for that matter).

Or how about:

"Oh, you work?  Do you not love your kid enough to raise them right?  Is money that important to you?  Are you that selfish?"  Yes, society and other moms do think these things sometimes.

And God bless the singles moms who do it all alone.  They are angels.

And you know what?  Truthfully...IT'S EXHAUSTING!!!  Being a mom is hard work.  For both the stay at home mom and the working mom.  You will never feel more tired in all your life.  I promise you.  But, at the same time, you will never feel more fulfilled, more loved, and more important.   Because what we do matters.  We are shaping the future with how we raise our children.  They are such precious treasures.  And I truly believe there is no more important job than being a mom.  And you seldom will ever receive a "thank you" for all you do actually do, that they take for granted.  And yet, you wouldn't have it any other way.  Why?  Because you love them.

So God bless the mothers!!!  Where would we be without them?

Thursday, April 16, 2015


I can't believe I am typing this.....

I am almost 38 years old.  And I have attempted suicide 2x in my life. 

Once was in high school.  I had this guy that stalked me, harassed me, and threatened me.  It got so bad, even my best friends left me.  I found myself all alone.  I tried to cut my wrists.  But damn it hurt.  It got infected.  I told everyone it accidentally slammed in a locker.  Most bought it.  In high school no ones wants to be around drama.  And he made my life drama.  If they thought it was being a friend to someone going through it.... well.  I wish they would have put their selves in my shoes for just 5 minutes.  But at 16/17 years old, the world only revolves around you.  So I lost everyone.  That was my first attempt.

My second attempt was just approaching my one year anniversary of marriage.  Yup.  You read that right.  Our schedules were so different.  I felt so lost and alone.  My husband and mom saved my life. Quite literally.

I am not going into great detail, obviously.  But I have attempted 2 times in my life.  The last time left me in the hospital fighting for my life and facing some psychologist.  To this day I think they were too tired by 5 a.m. to really see the holes in my story.  Who lets someone go home who tried OD on pills and booze while trying to cut their wrists.... every way possible?  Yeah.  I was serious.  I was done hurting in life.  I wanted to die.

Anyway..... I digress.......

I am now almost 38 years old  My marriage has been to bottom and come back.  I have 3 awesome children.  I still struggle in life from time to time.  But I can tell you this....  Life DOES get better. 

Someone out there will love you... just how you are... damaged and all.

Someone out there will see you more than just a sex object.

You will find people who really do give a shit about you!!!  (not in high school though...)

You are worthy of love!

You are beautiful!!!  Just how you are!!!

Don't give up hope!!! Life may be hard now (ok... so it down right sucks now), but I promise you it does improve!!!

I have an amazing relationship with my same husband now.  I have 3 amazing kids.  Life isn't always easy... trust me.  But I can't imagine doing life without any of them.  I have finally accepted love... true love.  And I have learned to love unconditionally.  It's easy to learn to love.  It's hard to accept love... real love... for yourself.  Especially if you don't love yourself.  How could anyone really love you?  You are so damaged!  Right?

I am here to tell you, don't give up!!!  Life DOES improve!!!  I promise!!! 

And in case you say our stories are very different.... let me tell you...

I was molested by a preacher's son
I have been raped... more than once
I have been in relationships that were emotionally and physically abusive and manipulative.
I lost my dad when I was 11.
I was stalked, harassed, and threatened.  I was slandered and rumors started... yeah.
I lost all my friends at one point and was completely alone in the world (or it at least felt that way.  I guess what I was going through was too much for them.  Hell the last half of my Jr. year and most of my Sr. year my theme song was Kiss Off Into the Air by Violent Femmes....and yes... I tried to OD a few times but never actually did it.)

There is not much in life I have not lived through.  And it has taken time to forgive a lot of people.  But I have learned this:  Forgiveness is for you, not them.  It doesn't let them off the hook.  It just frees you from the hate, bitterness, and so on.  It frees you.  God will deal with them.

I still have some demons, but I can tell you this... NOTHING is worth your life.  Your life is an amazing gift.  Even if it doesn't feel like it right now. 

Don't give up hope.  Please.  Seek help.  Confide in a friend or family member.  Call the hotlines.  You are worth it.  Your life is worth it.  You are amazing!!!  And your life will get better.  I promise.  Just don't give up!!! 

From survivor to another (b/c trust me.... you ARE a survivor), life is worth it.  It DOES get better.   And with any luck... one day... you'll face these demons and beat them... and hopefully be able to help someone else.  But even if that isn't the case.... I can promise you it does get better.  You are worth it.  And love .... true love.... truly does exist.   It does.  Don't give up.  Please. 

I know what it's like to hurt so damn bad all you want is for it stop all cost.  I know what it is like to feel completely alone in world.  I know what it is like to feel unlovable, to feel too damaged.  I know what it's like to feel like no one will ever understand.   I know what it's like to feel trapped by your life.  And I know what it feels like to just want to stop hurting...... at all costs.  No matter the cost.  I KNOW. 

Please... I beg of you... if you are thinking of ending your life.... reach out for help.   I know it's hard to believe.  I know you can't believe it right now.  But it DOES get better.  You are stronger than you think!!!  I promise!!!

Don't give up.  If I would have given up I would not the wonderful marriage or 3 awesome kids I have today (6 kids if you include dogs.  lol)  Life isn't always fun or easy now.  But it's worth it.  And I have people now that support me and love me.  For me.  Period.  And life is so worth it now.  All of it. 

I encourage all of you looking to for a way to escape the pain, to seek help.  There is NO shame in that.  I promise. 

Life does get better.... sometimes we need a little help to get there.  And that's okay.  ;)  It's those of us who have lived through the tough times that can truly appreciate the good ones.  We have something special to show the world..... how to overcome and love in spite of life and it's cruelty.  We aren't "role models".... but we know what life can deal out.  And we know, eventually, that we are more life's circumstances.  We are more than the hurt.  We are amazing.

Friday, March 27, 2015

The Day My Life Was Forever Changed

I am not sure.  Maybe I have had the guts to put this down before.  Maybe not.  And if I am honest, it was more than just a "day" that changed my life.

I grew up in a very loving home.  I had a mom and dad who loved each other.  They were high school sweethearts.  And I had 2 younger sisters, and oh God... the pet.  We had 2 dogs, hamsters, birds and fish.  No wonder they wouldn't get us a pony.  lol 

Flash forward to February of 1989.  I was 11.  My sisters were, 9 and 6.  My father got sick.  He was sick for what seemed like forever to a kid, but in all honesty, it was probably more like 2 weeks or so.  I am talking not getting out of bed sick.  We thought he had a cold.  Then we thought possibly the flu.  It was time for him to get some serious help.

I remember the day like it was yesterday.  He was standing on the landing in front of the front door in his blue robe and jammies.  My sisters and I all gathered around to hug him and love on him.  We were told he was going to the hospital to get better.  I remember hugging him and telling him good bye.  He replied, "Don't say good bye, say I love you".  I did.  That was the last time I ever say my father.

He went to the hospital and he did start to heal.  But just before his release he got a horrible headache.  That was it.  He ended up suffering a brain aneurysm.  He was hospitalized over a month.

I remember Easter that year.  It was March 26.  Easter Sunday.  All our family came to visit.  And I mean all our family.  We lived in Virginia at the time.  And our family from in state, out of state, and from Germany; all came.  I remember staring at his empty place at the supper table during Easter dinner.  It was the worst Easter dinner of all time.  Something wasn't right.  Everyone kept starring at that empty chair.  Something in the air wasn't right to me.

After supper, we all gathered at my house.  My mom had our priest come to the house to visit with us.  I remember him asking us if we had any questions after a short talk with him about God's love.  Then my mother called us over to her on the couch.  My entire family around.  I remember feeling so scared.  Something didn't feel right.  That's when she said, "This is probably the hardest thing a mother ever has to tell her children....".  I remember starting to tear up and shaking my head no.  I am not sure if I actually said "No, don't say it!" out loud or not.  But I know I was definitely thinking it.

She told us that the doctors said my dad wasn't doing ever going to come home again.  They didn't think he live through the following day.  Everything after that is kind of a blur.   I ran to room to cry for a few minutes.  Then I came out and confronted our priest.   "I have a question!  If God loves us so much, why is he killing my daddy!?"  He told me that God wasn't killing my dad.  But I didn't believe him.  And to be honest, I held on to that hate for a very long time.  But this isn't about that.

My father died the next day around 1 pm.

My life has never been the same.  He left behind a wife and 3 girls.  It was not one of those things where you knew it was coming and had time to kind of prepare for it.  He had a brain aneurysm and never recovered. 

I was 11 years old.

It's been 26 years today since he passed.  And I miss him all the time.  He taught me a lot.  He taught me how to start taking responsibility for myself, how to cook, how to shoot, and a lot of life lessons that I still carry with me to this day.    He got up and went to work at 3 a.m. so he was sure to be home by the time we all got out of school once mom got a job.  He adored my mother.  He loved her so very much.  And she him.  And he adored us kids.  I look at my children and am sad that they will never get the chance to know him.  He was an amazing guy.  He was hard working, loyal, funny, loving and everyone liked him.  He liked war movies, and country music, as well as watching Night Court and Cheers (Those were some great shows!!).  And every Saturday night, we ordered pizza and hoagies and watched Star Trek: The next generation.    He was man who made sacrifices for his family.  And as far as I knew, he never complained. 

Sometimes I can still smell his pipe......

It really and truly breaks my heart that my kids will never know him.  Man, he would have adored them so much.  It's not my wedding, or my sisters' weddings.... It's not all the death's since he would have helped us get through.... It's the kids.  That is what I regret.  That he and they never met, never had the chance to know one another or love each other.  Maybe one day, they'll meet in the life after this one.  That is my hope.

REST IN PEACE DADDY.  You may gone, but you are not forgotten.  You live in our hearts and memories.... always.  And I look forward to the day where we hug once more and say "I love you".

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

HP Computers Are a Waste Of Your Time and Money (in my opinion)

So here's our story.

Less than 2 years ago, I received a laptop as gift.  A very nice laptop at the time.  With in the first 3 months we had to send it back.  The thermal drive was bad.  Shortly there after, my screen stop working properly.  It got sent back for a screen repair/replacement.  Since that time the screen has had issues.  Do you know/remember what tv's use to do when the programing went out?  They got all fuzzy and full of static.  Welcome to my new computer screen.  We have called about it.  They told us to loosen screws and do this and that.  The problem not only still exists, and got worse.  We have actually had this one laptop fixed under warranty several times.  And yet, the screen issue still exists. 

We got so fed up we bought a 2nd laptop the last time the original was in the shop.  We were talked into buying from the same company, HP.  I really did not want too.  But we were told the problems that our original laptop had were truly an anomaly, a fluke.  That HP made great products and had good warranty and customer service,  blah blah blah.  I was skeptical, but we bought a 2nd laptop.

It's been sent in for repairs under warranty as well.  Twice.  It's less than a year old.

We do take very good of our laptops.  They don't travel outside of home.  They are not carried or dropped.  They are not on the floor to be stepped on or kicked.  They are in wonderful shape.  Our children do not use them or touch them.

Back to laptop #1.  As I have said, we have contacted the company several times about this.  The laptop is finally out of warranty.  And now they want us to send it in.  And they want to charge us half the price of a new laptop to fix it.  Really? 

My husband had been on the phone, today alone, over 2 hours now and is being transferred to yet a 6th person to talk to about this.  The problems stemmed from a warranty repair on the screen.  We have contacted them about the issues sense.  And only now do they want us to send it in and they want to charge us way too much to fix it. 

To say we are frustrated is an understatement.  The fact that we have bought 2 laptops from this company and BOTH needed several warranty repairs with in the first few months say a lot all on it's own.  And we are not talking about $250 laptops here folks.  We are talking both laptops cost between $700 and $1000 all on their own. 

It would seem that the people at HP did want to bothered to fix the problem they created until it was finally out of warranty so they could charge us for it.  The products don't last.   To have purchased not one, but 2, and have them both in warranty repairs with in the first few months.  That's just crap.  That's a crap product. 

Since we started voicing our displeasure with HP, many have also told us very similar stories of purchasing an HP laptop/notebook, only to have in for repairs with in the first several months. In my opinion, I would not invest your time and money into buying HP products at this point. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

It's Worth It

Lately, my Facebook feed is becoming more and more littered with "friends" bashing marriage.  Mostly it comes in the forms of jokes and memes.  But sometimes, not so much.

I also get to see my single friends struggle with the dating life.  Some have kids, others do not.  But that never seems to matter much.  They all pretty much have the same struggle, finding that right person who will accept and love them as they are.

Seeing all these things escalate on an almost daily basis has really made me think on my own relationship more.  And I got to tell you, I for one am so happy to be married and not single again.

This year we will celebrate our 16th wedding anniversary.  And yes, I can say that with all confidence.  And here's why: We learned how to make it.

You don't make it 15+ years into marriage without a few major hurdles.  Of course we had the financial hurdle.  But we also had the unexpected child hurdle, the change of job/hours hurdle, and the biggest hurdle of all.  The one no one ever talks about but is there.  The people grow and change hurdle.  It's that last one that is the one that sneaks up on you. 

When you get married, you have all these wonderful notions of how the marriage will be.  You have expectations and dreams.  And that's all well and good, but then after a while, you start to realize it's not like what you expected at all.  You aren't the same person 5 years into your marriage as you were the day you got married.  And guess what, neither is your spouse.  With in those first 5 years or so, someone usually has a job change.  Or there may be child.  You may move.  Something big (maybe more than one thing) is going to happen.  It's going to change the way you and your spouse relate to each other.   Because no two people are the same.  And you both will adjust differently to whatever it is life has thrown at you.  You will adjust the way you always have.  They will too.  And that's not always going to put the two of you on the same page.  If you both adjust differently, and expect the other one to adjust in the same way you do, and they don't, it leads to stress and tension.  You will expect them to act one way, and when they don't, you are disappointed, hurt, let down.  That can, and often does, lead to resentment and anger.  And before you know it.... it's a major hurdle you have to overcome you never saw coming.  And sadly, this is a reason for many splits.  They end it saying things like "you weren't the person I thought you were" or "we've grown apart" or "you've changed", or "I am just not happy anymore".

And you know what?  This unexpected hurdle, it happens over and over again in marriage.  Life will keep throwing things at you.  And you and your spouse have to learn to adjust together, instead of seperately.  That comes from being able to be open and honest with each other.  Communication is very important.  It's trusting your spouse with your feelings.  It's being able to to listen to your spouse and take what they are feeling and saying to heart.  It's working on a solution together.  My husband and I have learned to speak up when we feel ourselves growing apart.  Something like "Hey honey, can we talk?  I know things have been hectic lately and you've been super stressed.  And I really don't want to add that, but I feel like we are starting to drift apart again. How about a lunch date next week and maybe a movie night, just us?"  Nine out of ten times, the other one of us is starting to feel it too. And it's almost a relief to get it out there and make a plan to work on us.  The other one time, the other one thinks the one saying it is completely off their rocker, but we don't say that.  We may say, "Really?  I hadn't noticed.  But yeah, lets make some time for each other."

It's making time to be with one another and enjoy each other again that will help you build your relationship.  After a working on time with one another, you will usually find it easier to talk to one another about what the issue(s) are.  You feel close again.  You trust again.  And you want to work it out.  But you have to make the time to make your spouse a priority first.

Another thing that we have learned, is to be able to say how we are felling without placing blame.  That's a tricky one.  It's one thing to say "I feel lonely these days" or "I really miss spending time with you" than it is to say "you work all the time and are never here".  One way is just being open and honest about how you feel without placing blame.  The other is just going to make your spouse defensive.  And once they become defensive, they aren't going to really hear what you are trying to say.  Try and word your feelings honestly, but carefully.  Really listen to everything your spouse says to you during that crucial time you are discussing issues.  Try not to take it personally (easier said than done) and really try to understand what they are trying to say and how they feel.

It's not easy.  Especially the first few (read dozen) times.  You will find yourself questioning your marriage a few times in your marriage.  (Something no one ever really tells you when you say I do).  And you know what?  I think that's human nature.  It's hard.  It's not working at the moment.  You are hurt and disappointed.  Of course you'll question it.  But that is where your vows come in.  That's when you dig in and say "Nope!  I am gonna give it all I have and we are going to work through this".

Here's a little secret:  Several years ago, on Valentine's Day of all days (it wasn't planned), I asked for divorce.  My husband and I were both miserable.  And after yet another argument and hurt feelings, I was finally done.  He refused.  He said he wasn't gonna let me go.  That we could work through it.  And you know what?  We did.  It wasn't easy, but we did it.  And I am so very glad of it.  It was worth it.

Here is something we have learned over the years.  We love each other.  If we didn't then we wouldn't be hurt or disappointed in one another at times.  It's because we care that we get hurt.

My husband knows me.  He knows my past.  He knows all my flaws.  He knows what makes me happy and what doesn't.  He knows what I believe in.  He knows my passions.  He knows my fears.  We have little inside jokes that are all ours.  And I know these things about him.  That is what makes the fight worth it.  I don't want to try to do all this again with someone else.  Because the truth is, I'll find myself right back in this same situation eventually.  Where one or both of us is hurt or disappointed.  Where we have changed, and not together.  Then what?  Another divorce?  Another break up?  No.  I refuse to do it.  And so does my husband.  We love one another.  We want to do life together.  And we know better than most, it does get hard.  It does get ugly.  But we are worth it.   And we are happier and stronger today then we were almost 16 years ago, 10 years ago, 3 years ago, last year.  We are learning how to do life together.  That's marriage.  Learning to do life together.  Even the hard stuff.  You will always be learning, always be adjusting.  You will have times of hard work and hurt.  And you will have times of complete and total happiness and comfort.  It really is working through the hard stuff that makes the good stuff even better.

I don't envy my single friends. I'll take my marriage over being single any day.  It's worth it.  They may not agree.  And that's okay.  I still love them.  ;)